3D printing custom products
3D printing custom products is a way to increase product segments. This is because 3D printing is eminently amenable to mass customization. Custom products are difficult to manufacture with a traditional manufacturing process. The traditional manufacturing process is focused on making one (or more) standardized products. Any minor customization involves increasing cycle time, process steps and cost of manufacturing.
Many mass manufactured products could sell better with some minor customization. These include shoes, apparel, jewellery, dental implants, prosthetics, etc. Additive manufacturing techniques make mass customization easier compared to traditional manufacturing.
Customizing a product enables a business to address a larger customer base. The “one-size-fits-all” product range requires customers to standardize their product. Having the ability to customize enables closer fit for customer requirements.
The price range of custom products are always higher than that of the standard products. Customers see higher value in such products and are willing to pay a higher price. This means higher margins for the business.
Traditional manufacturing requires changes in the manufacturing process for every design or measurement change. Such changes increase fixed costs to a great extent. This, sometimes, also creates more process steps. Customization can help to get higher prices. But such higher prices may not be high enough to justify such process changes.
Customizing a product enables value addition. This, in turn, brings in higher margins. Yet, customization comes with its own challenges. Additive manufacturing makes customization efforts much more practical and cost effective. This opens up newer segments. Customers will get better fit with products they buy from you. This makes them happier.
With 3D printing, it is less painful to take in orders for customized products. It is possible to print out slight variations to products with minor design changes. There are no extra fixed costs. Customers are happier. Revenues and margins are higher.